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Intel 750 Series 1.2TB SSD review

Tom Morgan
26 Apr 2015
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
Intel 750 Series 1.2TB SSD
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
917
inc VAT

Blazingly fast internal storage, but with a price to match - Intel's 750 Series 1.2TB is strictly for PC performance fanatics

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Specifications

Capacity: 1.2TB, Cost per gigabyte: £0.76, Interface: PCI-Express 3.0 X4, Claimed read: 2.4GB/s

Intel's latest SSDs are based on hardware that was originally designed for enterprise-grade workstations and servers, but there has been enough consumer demand for the company to rebadge its hardware as the 750 Series - a PCI Express slot SSD that's undoubtedly the fastest storage device we've ever tested.

The SSD is based on the Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe') specification – a standard designed specifically for SSDs, unlike the traditional SATA interface which was originally built for much slower mechanical hard disks. Whereas SATA has a maximum usable bandwidth of 550MB/s, NVMe is almost six times faster at 3,200MB/s. The 750 Series uses four PCI-Express lanes at PCI Express 3.0 speeds, and to accesses data in parallel, rather than sequentially, which Intel claims will provide read and write speeds of 2,400MB/s and 1,200MB/s.

Unfortunately not all motherboards will be able to supply enough bandwidth to achieve such incredible speeds. Officially, only Intel's own Z97 and X99 chipsets are supported, and because Z97 motherboards only have 16 PCI Express lanes you will have to share bandwidth between the SSD and a dedicated graphics card. In our testing, we didn't see any frame rate decreases in Metro: Last Light Redux, running on an Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 at a resolution of 3,840x2,160 while running the CrystalDiskMark storage benchmark in the background. The SSD did slow down slightly compared to running the same test without stressing the graphics card, but only by as much as 9% - not enough to notice, and not a situation you're likely to encounter in everyday use. 

The 750 Series SSD uses an 18-channel flash controller of Intel's own design, which runs at 400MHz and can draw up to 25W when in full write mode – hence the reason Intel has fitted a sizable heatsink that covers the SSD's entire circuit board. Thankfully the PCI Express interface can deliver this much power without needing to be plugged into an additional power supply cable, which should help keep your system neat.

The SSD puts all that power to good use, however, producing without a doubt the fastest speeds we've ever seen in our storage benchmark tests. Our previous fastest SSDs topped out at around 600MB/s, but the 750 Series managed an incredible 1,386MB/s write and 1,452MB/s read. This is more than twice as fast as anything we've seen previously, and a sign of things to come for SSDs now that the SATA interface is no longer the limiting factor in transfer speeds.

Our small files test has always been tough, but write speeds of 116MB/s were still around 30MB/s faster than the best SATA SSDs. Small file read speeds were a stunning 184MB/s, the fastest we've seen and more than twice the speed of a traditional SATA SSD.

The 750 Series might be twice the price of the fastest consumer-grade 1TB SSDs, but it's also twice as fast. If you have a compatible motherboard, demand the absolute best from your PC and don't mind spending close to £1,000 on storage, the Intel 750 Series is nigh-on unbeatable. However, everyone else will be better served by the £430 Samsung EVO 850 PRO, which costs significantly less and is still one of the fastest SATA SSDs around.

Hardware
Capacity1.2TB
Cost per gigabyte£0.76
InterfacePCI-Express 3.0 X4
Claimed read2.4GB/s
Claimed write1.2GB/s
ControllerIntel CH29AE41AB0
NAND flash typeIntel 20nm 128Gbit MLC
Mounting kitNo

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